A suicide car bomber attacked a military checkpoint Monday in tribal-dominated northwestern Pakistan, killing six soldiers and wounding 10 others, officials said.
The attack happened near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal region, where al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants have been routinely targeting Pakistani forces, said Pakistan’s chief army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan.
“It was probably a car laden with explosives that has been driven and hit a (military) post,” Sultan said.
Sultan said six Pakistani soldiers were killed and 10 wounded in the attack in the village of Isha, about four miles east of Miran Shah.
The bombing came a day after a purported militant spokesman in North Waziristan announced that fighters will observe a monthlong cease-fire if authorities withdraw soldiers from roadside checkpoints back to their barracks.
Suicide attacks have been rarely used in this volatile region, where militants have tended to detonate explosives near Pakistani troop positions by remote control or launch ambushes using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
The last suicide attack occurred June 2 when two militants rammed their explosives-packed car into a military convoy in North Waziristan, killing four Pakistani soldiers and wounding seven.
“This is not a welcome trend we are starting to see,” Sultan said.
Military officials have said that hundreds of Arab, Afghan and Central Asian militants with al-Qaida links, along with local pro-Taliban fighters, operate in North and the adjoining South Waziristan tribal regions.
The rugged area borders Afghanistan and militants are believed to cross relatively freely between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan a key ally of the United States in the war against terrorism has deployed some 80,000 troops along its Afghan border to track down militants. At least 75 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the tribal regions since January, along with about 350 militants.